[Photo Credit: Courtesy of Karen Kane]
Designer, Karen Kane
Meet our INSIDER CLICKS feature: the inspiring designer, Karen Kane.
“My husband and I started our company 33 years ago, when we were newlyweds living in Studio City. In the beginning, we worked out of our garage…I would create the patterns, cut fabric, sew our orders and do all of the silk screening. Lonnie (my husband) would then travel around LA trying to find stores that would take a chance on us. Today, things have changed a lot. We’re based out of Vernon, CA (about 10 minutes south of Los Angeles), and our collection is carried in stores all over the country: Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Belk, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, etc. It’s been a very fun ride!” – Karen Kane
FACT: My favorite color is blue. It’s not a coincidence that so many of our seasons have been based on a shade of blue: teal, true blue, cobalt, light blue…I love every shade!
FACT: I love shopping. It’s my favorite hobby. If it’s a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll probably find me at the Brentwood Country Mart, Malibu Lumber Yard or popping in and out of stores in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. I always use the excuse that it’s “research!”
INSIDER Q & A.
W2C: What was the first piece you ever designed for the label?
KK: We started with only silk tops, and slowly evolved into other categories. The top that set us apart was a cream blouse with a screen-print zebra on the front. It became our first best-seller, and got people really excited about the line.
W2C: Karen Kane is a tremendous, established brand. What advice can you give to new, up and coming designers?
KK: Follow your passion and know your customer. If you do those two things, you can’t go wrong. The “secret” to succeeding in whatever field you’re in is truly loving your craft and living it. The best designers live and breathe fashion 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and never complain about it. It’s also important to know who you are designing for. It’s easy to create clothing you want to wear, but truly talented designers can tap into understanding what others want to wear and why they make the decisions they do each morning when getting dressed.
W2C: Who do you find to be inspirational in the industry?
KK: Karl Lagerfeld! His sense of vision is unparalleled in the industry, and he devotes himself entirely to each new collection he creates. I also think Ralph Lauren is very inspirational. It’s been amazing to watch how he transformed a clothing line into a true lifestyle brand.
W2C: Which season is your favorite to design?
KK: Fall! Since there are so many more categories, you get to be a lot more creative. Jackets, sweaters, dresses, outerwear, scarves…I get excited just thinking about it!
W2C: What is your favorite piece from the collection for Fall?
KK: That’s a tough call. It’s probably my new Long Sleeve Cheetah Dress. I recently wore it at a fashion show I attended in Atlanta, and I got a lot of compliments on it. It definitely makes a statement, but it is SO comfortable…you won’t want to take it off!
W2C: What is the most exciting project or collaboration that you have been a part of?
KK: This past year, FIDM (my alma mater) asked me to collaborate with their advanced design students on a special project for their annual Debut gala. We came up with the “Little Black Dress Challenge.” Each student got the opportunity to design and create their vision of the “perfect” LBD for the Karen Kane customer. After several months of working with the students on patterns, fit and execution, I picked three winning dresses, which we added to our fall/winter 2012 line. FIDM loved the project so much that they are now offering a scholarship to one winner based on the collaboration. Anyone who’s interested can find out more by visiting our website, karenkane.com/FIDM. It was such a wonderful experience working with FIDM’s instructors and students. They are incredibly inspiring, and keep me excited about the future of fashion!
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RAG & BONE is fabulous! Their jackets are incredible. I’m also a huge fan of CHANEL. The way Karl Lagerfeld transforms each season into a completely new story (while keeping his vision consistent) is very inspiring.
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